We survived. Over 1000 homes burned, and hundreds damaged. We are still standing strong. We reached out to everyone we knew and were saddened by their loss, but also inspired by their resilience. In so many ways, it felt so weird to come home to an intact home. Things will never be the same, yet the important aspect of this life lesson was that we will continue to strive. We change the world a little bit at a time, no matter how many times we get beat down. And, we have felt overwhelmed this last year, wondering what else can happen now. The President visited us, this small town, to encourage us to keep hope alive.

There comes a time when you must make a choice in your thoughts and actions. A belief in something that is totally, unabashedly wrong is not the right choice. Belief in false facts such as those that other “news” agencies spew out into the universe is wrong. We must move forward and recognize that the system can work if we all do it together, if we change our attitudes about society, if we work together to “Build Back Better.” We are a bunch of neighbors working TOGETHER, moving forward to rebuild, helping each other as much as we can.

We do not know everyone who suffered, but we help them anyway. Why should this be any different in any other neighborhood suffering from tragedy or the pandemic? Selfishness has no place in our society. We must make the effort to change the minds of the “privileged people.” We must strive to help them understand that they are part of this society, one made of people of all social classes, and also help them recognize what it means to be a part of this United States.

Knowing that our economy is based on spending, supply, and demand, we must recognize that other people make different choices about spending their money, even if we don’t like it. It is not our responsibility to belittle them for the choices they make. That is what democracy is all about: having that choice. If they ask for advice, we are free to give it to them, just as they are free to decide what is best for their families.

Fascism vs. democracy. Which would you choose? Your current choices are based on democracy. In a fascist society, no one is right except the person who is in charge and his/her minions. Is that a society that you want to live in? It’s okay to believe in the greater good. If you take everything that “they” (whoever they are) are just trying to take your money, you will not have a happy life. Sharing and giving is okay.

And, while we will always have the Joe Manchins in the White House, those who will not vote with their conscience instead of their pocketbooks, to the detriment of his constituents, we as voters must speak out. As a voting constituent, it is okay to let him know your thoughts and help him recognize that he must make good choices. Help him get out of his comfort zone. Help him say “No” to the big corporations that fund him. Help him make the right choices for you who live in his state. It is a sad day when a democrat does not help his own people who are in desperate need.

For more information about the Build Back Better bill, here is the link to the original publication of the bill. It seems like the logical and right thing to do to help our society become strong once again.

Welcome, 2022. It is a wonderful day to be alive. Let’s strive for a better New Year!

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